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Faces on Faith: God is our friend, friend of the whole world

April 25, 2018
By REV. JOHN N. CEDARLEAF , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

How many Facebook friends do you have? I thought I would count, but then wondered why would I do that. Some of my Facebook friends I've known for years; others not so long. Some are family, some clergy colleagues and some are even dead because you can never get off Facebook even if you're dead! I thought about these Facebook friendships. Some of these friends would be friends if there was no Facebook and others wouldn't make the cut. Most of us, if asked, would say that it is important to have friends and to be a friend to others. In his book :Friendship," author David Whyte writes:

"The ultimate touchstone of friendship is not improvement, neither of the other nor of the self, the ultimate touchstone is witness, the privilege of having been seen by someone and the equal privilege of being granted the sight of the essence of another, to have walked with them and to have believed in them, and sometimes just to have accompanied them for however brief a span, on a journey impossible to accomplish alone."

This life is not made for loners, but for friends; for those who will accompany us on the way without judging us, but rather accepting us for who and what we are. These are the friends who will last long after the last Facebook post is gone, whenever that might be. Being a friend is to be a lover of the other and, of course, the greatest love of all is the God who created us and the whole world in love and who sustains this old whirling planet with love. In the Gospel of John in the Christian Scriptures, Jesus is quoted as saying to his disciples:

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Rev. John Cedarleaf

"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends I have called you friends I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another."

Whatever we may think or believe, God is our friend; the friend of the whole world, God has walked with us and believes in us and reaches out to us with a love that will not let go. When we share that love with others in a deep way, accompanying them for however long a time then indeed the journey is more fulfilling. How is your friendship journey going?

The Rev. John Cedarleaf is the pastor at the Captiva Chapel by the Sea.



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